Retrial ordered in former cameraman’s rape case; conviction set aside

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Andre Hetsberger

Forty-six-year-old Andre Hetsberger, a former cameraman, is now expected to face another trial at the Demerara High Court in relation to rape charges for which he was convicted of in 2016. This ruling was handed down by Appeal Judges Chief Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire, Dawn Gregory, and Rishi Persaud, who on Wednesday set aside the conviction and ordered a retrial.

Hetsberger was found guilty by a mixed 12-member jury after being on trial for the offence before Justice Navindra Singh in 2016.

After the unanimous guilty verdict was delivered, Hetsberger was sentenced to serve 25 years imprisonment for the offence. Hetsberger, nevertheless, maintained his innocence and filed an appeal.

Attorney Dexter Todd appealed on the grounds that the sentence was severe and the guilty verdict is not in accordance with the evidence, since it (the verdict) could be supported by same.

As a result of Todd’s arguments, the Appeal Court had now instructed that the matter be set to be heard at the next sitting of the Demerara Assizes at the Demerara High Court on the basis that unfavourable evidence was allowed to be presented throughout the trial.

According to media reports, on October 17, 2014, he allegedly engaged in digital penetration with a 13-year-old. He was also accused of forcing the child to engage in fellatio (oral sex) with him.

In January of 2015, Hetsberger was charged for the offence and appeared before Magistrate Fabayo Azore at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts. He was released on G$300,000 bail but was later committed to stand trial at the High Court.

It was until 2016 that Hetsberger was convicted and sentenced for the offence. Hetsberger still remains incarcerated pending an application for High Court bail.